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Argyle ace Whittaker is destined for the big time
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Matthew Hill
Plymouth pulled off a coup when landing Morgan Whittaker from Swansea last summer
Plymouth pulled off a coup when landing Morgan Whittaker from Swansea last summer

Plymouth arguably pulled off the signing of last summer when landing Morgan Whittaker from Swansea.

The former Derby youth product headed to Home Park on a permanent deal having helped fire the Pilgrims to the League One title during an impressive loan stint in 2022-23.

Now, Whittaker is taking the second tier by storm having moved joint-top of the Championship scoring charts last weekend.

As Plymouth prepare to host Leeds in an FA Cup fourth round replay tonight, we examine their No10's rapid rise.

Finding his feet

Whittaker's natural talent was clear from an early age.

He amassed 32 senior appearances for Derby as a teenager under Phillip Cocu and Wayne Rooney before being sold to help ease the Rams' financial woes.

Swansea's £750,000 bid won the race in January 2021 but opportunities proved limited during his first 12 months in South Wales.

Loan spells in League One with Lincoln and Plymouth followed and it was in Devon where the former England youth international really found his feet.

Nine goals and seven assists in 25 League One appearances prompted his parent club to recall him last January.

However, a solitary goal in 15 Championship outings meant the Swans were happy to sign off a sale to Argyle for £1million last July.

Rough diamond

Morgan Whittaker and Plymouth will take on Leeds tonight in an FA Cup replay
Morgan Whittaker and Plymouth will take on Leeds tonight in an FA Cup replay

If Swansea thought that £250k profit was shrewd business at the time, it now looks anything but.

Argyle have been savvy operators in the market for several years now and knew exactly what they were doing when breaking their transfer record to land the 23-year-old ace.

After completing the deal, director of football Neil Dewsnip said: "Morgan fits the profile we like to work with here. Young and exciting with loads of room for growth.

"We saw what he could do in League One and there is no doubt in our minds that he will have a similar impact for us in the Championship this season."

Like his team-mates, Whittaker took a bit of time to get going this term, blanking in 10 of his first 12 Championship matches — though he did net a fabulous September hat-trick against Norwich.

There is now no stopping him, with a sumptuous match-winning strike against old club Swansea last Saturday his eighth in as many games.

It was a goal that pulled him level with Blackburn's Sammie Szmodics at the top of the Championship goalscoring charts with 16 strikes.

Greatness awaits

The only negative from a Plymouth perspective is that Whittaker's outstanding performances may make his stay at Home Park a short one.

Of course, it will take big money for them to sell a player with over three years left on his contract, though goalscorers and hefty fees do tend to go hand-in-hand.

There is far more to Whittaker than goals, too. 

He is equally comfortable on the right flank or in an attacking midfield role, with a level of tactical intelligence to suggest more positions could also be mastered in due course. 

Argyle confirmed an approach from Serie A giants Lazio was rebuffed as recently as last week.

Whittaker is clearly loving life at Plymouth and has even worn the captain's armband in recent outings — but approaches from Premier League giants this summer would be difficult to ignore.


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